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CloudAtCost Buyer Beware

March 14, 2014 Update - I have sold am selling my 'Developer 3' for life instance


See performance stats below and email me at 'cloudatcost-dev3-for-sale [at] danols.com' if interested.

Below is latest performance snapshot - it's usable but not for what I need. Make me an offer in the comment section, the first reasonable amount will be accepted and we'll use a paypal for the transaction.

oot@debian7:~# . test-linode.sh 
$ openssl speed sha1
...
type             16 bytes     64 bytes    256 bytes   1024 bytes   8192 bytes
sha1             34431.17k    90492.32k   200161.54k   303043.38k   328540.16k

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=test bs=64k count=5k oflag=dsync && rm test
5120+0 records in
5120+0 records out
335544320 bytes (336 MB) copied, 84.5891 s, 4.0 MB/s

...
Resolving ipv4.download.thinkbroadband.com (ipv4.download.thinkbroadband.com)... 80.249.99.148
Length: 536870912 (512M) [application/zip]
Saving to: `/dev/null'

...
 536,870,912 1.18M/s   in 4m 25s  

Super cheap hosting but too good to be true

I've bought their for life Development 3 package about a month or so ago and aside from the rough administration panel at that time I was very impressed at the perfromance and support. The CloudAtCost instance was beating my good old and tried Linode VPS server and tickets were being answsered within hours - please use the previous or this Linode link if you decide to sign up as I get a small kickback .

Fast forward to today and I feel I might have fallen victim to the "Too good to be true" experience. My tickets go unanswered, there was a two week unable to re-image due to maintance message, and performance has hit rock bottom as seen per the stats below

CloudAtCost Dev 3 Package
512MB download ---> file avg speed 842K/s
dd if=/dev/zero of=test bs=64k count=5k oflag=dsync ---> 3.6 MB/s
SHA1 OpenSSL 8192 Test: 322022.06k

Linode 1GB Package
512MB download ---> file avg speed 6.92MB/s
dd if=/dev/zero of=test bs=64k count=5k oflag=dsync ---> 26.7 MB/s
SHA1 OpenSSL 8192 Test: 275749.84k

But let's be fair here and assume that CloudAtCost is simply swamped with the explosion of people jumping at their for life cloud packages, and so with that in mind I reserve the final verdict if I wasted my money to say 6-12 months from now. However the early lesson here is clearly that you get what you pay for.

Testing script used

Below is very rought testing script I use when comparing new services to Linode.

#!/bin/sh

#echo 'time arc a -mx temp.arc linux'
#rm temp.arc
#time arc a -mx temp.arc linux

echo 'time openssl speed sha1'
time openssl speed sha1

echo 'time tar cf - linux | bzip2 -9 - > temp.tar.bz2'
rm temp.tar.bz2
time tar cf - linux | bzip2 -9 - > temp.tar.bz2

echo 'time dd if=/dev/zero of=test bs=64k count=5k oflag=dsync && rm test'
time dd if=/dev/zero of=test bs=64k count=5k oflag=dsync && rm test

time wget --output-document=/dev/null http://ipv4.download.thinkbroadband.com/512MB.zip
#wget ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/v2.4/linux-2.4.0.tar.bz2
#time tar -xvf linux-2.4.0.tar.bz2

Feel free to comment or follow me on twitter @danielsokolow.

Feb 01 2014 Update

New 2.0 control panel with better usability but network connection performance has further deteriorated.

CloudAtCost Dev 3 Package
512MB download ---> file avg speed 472KB/s
dd if=/dev/zero of=test bs=64k count=5k oflag=dsync ---> 10.7 MB/s
SHA1 OpenSSL 8192 Test: 379376.98k

Comments

  1. Dan, I expect you'll find the service improve enough so it's still a good deal, but it's not a steal.
    Jody Schnarr has a track record for offering non-mission-critical services for a good price, and he's an honest guy. I used the worldline LD service for several years after it came out. A couple times a month the local access number would be busy, but ~95% of the time the service worked, and my long distance costs were half of I'd pay with anyone else.
    I'm planning to get the developer 1 package. At $1/mth, it's less than half of what it costs to power my dual-core atom server I've got at home, and it shouldn't be hard to beat the uptime of a residential broadband connection.
    -Ralph

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ralph, thanks for the comment. I hear what you are saying - I have their freephoneline.ca unlocked phone and have been a happy customer for the past 3 years; so I do hope the service will become good enough to for what I need it.

      Delete
  2. Dan

    I too purchased a server through Cloud At Cost, although mine was the cheapest development server. Admittedly I was pleased for the price of the server, and so far performance seems in-line with what I expected for the initial outlay. I do find the amount of bandwidth fairly limiting, but I would guess it would improve with the larger servers?

    If you fast-forward to today, do you still find that your performance on these servers is poor? Cloud At Cost suffered a rather horrific DDOS attack during late November / early December, so perhaps it was related to this. My server was affected as part of this, and was offline for a good part of the attack. I have decided to monitor its uptime over the last week or so, and so far I have 100% uptime.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Daniel I've been looking into this as well. I was going to purchase one of the lifetime Developer 1 packages, but if you are selling yours I'm prepared to pay you what I was going to pay them. So how about it? Your Developer 3 account for $35? Let me know thanks..

    Ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ray, sorry for the late response - I'd like to do $70 and it's yours.

      Delete
    2. 50 dollars and I take it now

      Delete
  4. I could probably achieve what I need with a Dev 1... but would you find 55 USD to be a "reasonable amount"?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Daniel, no problem, sorry for my late reply as well, $70 ok let me think about it, I'll get back to you thanks..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Do you still have the dev 3 node available? thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I will take it for $70 if you still have it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sukasem, please email me at cloudatcost-dev3-for-sale [at] danols.com

      Delete
  8. Hi Daniel,
    I take it if you still have it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Daniel, I'm interested as well, are you still selling your instance? Now they are offering all their proposals 25% off (coupon GIMEGIME25, it appears in the "Live Chat" in the homepage after a while), so the Developer 3 sells for $105. I'm offering you $55, just to keep it about half the current price as you did. There's just one thing I need to know: does CloudAtCost have the possibility to change the Operating System you chose when you bought it?
    Please let me know what you think about this.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I signed up for the "Developer 3" and the "Big Dog 2" and my "Developer 3" instance has been down for 7 days with a VMware IO issue and they still haven't fixed it. Tickets, email, tweets and Facebook messages are all ignored.

    Stay away from CloudAtCost as it is too good to be true.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for all that were interested, I have sold the instance.

    ReplyDelete
  12. As soon as I saw their pricing plans, I walked away. Their business model is not sustainable and doesn't make much business sense - how can they pay their cost of maintenance, technical support if they only charge a one time fee? If you've done a lot of work in developing your websites, then you should choose a reputable hosting company that is willing to build a long term business relationship with you; not a company that takes your money, serves your once and walks away.

    ReplyDelete

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